Saturday, October 08, 2005


'Norman Johnson's' column today names the beast - Harry 'Steele'. It is, of course, very welcome, but the overwhelming feeling I get is just how strange this is. Strange, that is, that a relatively obscure blog and a relatively obscure blog-land political spat has become the focus of a weekly column in a widely read national paper. It's a very nice kind of strange, though.

Who is writing this stuff? I've heard it's Catherine Bennett - but no one seems to be sure. Whoever it is, it has to be a regular (or sometime regular) at HP and, therefore, presumably, someone who also visits, or at least knows of, the Tomb. Could it be that the user of one of the monikers any visitor of HP or the Tomb is familiar with is actually a Guardian columnist? Who could it be?

Here's where the column gets most of its Harry kicking in:

Who was Harry? Politically, I'd put the great blogmeister somewhere around the rightish end of a continuum that starts with dear old Rosa Luxembourg and ends with Charles Clarke. Like many of us, he'd made that arduous journey from the idealistic wing of the CPGB to the place now occupied by liberal humanitarian interventionists, thinking every step of the way. For those of you who'll never have the privilege of sparring with Harry, I'll quote the man himself. "Wake up you sad, naive cretin", he challenged one of the many fascistic stoppers (Harry's Place shorthand for surrender monkeys) who constantly challenged his dialectic. "Why don't you all just fuck off to your own websites", he told another loser, who subsequently had to be banned. "I'm sick of reading your crap on my site now." It was a working democracy.
For me and many fellow internationalists who've had to struggle to be heard, there was inspiration as well as consolation. At Harry's I first debated how many deaths would have to accumulate before it was legitimate to raise doubts about the liberation of the Iraqi people (the population of Iraq, plus one, we decided). But it wasn't all politics. It was there I heard that a biggish note in the church collection box got you into the local primary. At Harry's I found the support to keep on keeping going. Without it, I might not be here. Is it so strange now that Harry had to go?

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